Abdoul Razzagui Camara has said he could have died on the pitch if he had continued playing after doctors found a potentially fatal heart condition that has ended the striker's career.
Camara, 28, had been due to return to action with French club Guingamp this season after his 2017-18 campaign had been cut short by a knee injury sustained just four minutes after coming off the bench in a Ligue 1 game last December.
However, after cardiac anomalies picked up by club doctors in preseason tests were confirmed by specialists, the former Guinea international has accepted that he has to retire as a player.
"Each year, we do cardiac tests. I did my test, but the cardiologist told me there was something bizarre, something different to last year," Camara told Footmercato. "So, you just tell yourself they're going to do two or three little checks and it'll pass, it's nothing.
"I did an MRI and that wasn't good. After that, I did more tests, and again it didn't go well. After that, the club started talking to the league's cardiologist, who says whether you can play or not. They also wanted to do in-depth tests.
"After that, they talked it over with each other and decided it was dangerous for me to continue playing football.
"I can't continue because I am in danger of having a heart attack or dying on the pitch as has happened to other players. I have to move on, even if it's difficult to accept.
"Football has been my life since I was 13. I battled to come back from my cruciate ligament injury. And now I've been told I can't wear the shirt any more. It's a bit difficult to hear.
"We should say it's a blessing in disguise, but I still haven't fully taken it in. You can't take that in quickly, I need time.
"It's not like an injury where you can fight your way back. I can't do anything about this. I just waited for three weeks and I was told it was over. Everything came crashing down at that moment."
Camara made 105 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes, Sochaux and Angers before featuring 14 times for Guingamp after joining from Derby County in 2017.
He said he has already been contacted by former coaches as he now hopes to "discover the other sides of football," but Camara said it would be tough never to play competitively again.
"It's the best job in the world. It's everything I love to do. That's what makes me get up in the morning to go and train, to go and play. I'm going to miss a lot of things," he said. "Football has enabled me to met a huge amount of people. I've had the opportunity to be able to travel to lots of countries, be able to speak several languages. I'm going to miss a lot of things."